Duvdevani Puts Haaretz on Defensive

Senior Jewish world figures continue to complain about misleading statements published last week in Haaretz as they relate to the new strategic plan of the Jewish Agency (JAFI).

Last Thursday, JAFI’s Board chair, Richie Pearlstone, published an open letter to the editor. Today, Avraham Duvdevani, chair of the World Zionist Organization express his thoughts:

15 Tammuz, 5770
June 27, 2010

Dear Member of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors,

Shalom and warm greetings from Jerusalem!

The article regarding the Jewish Agency’s new vision published in the Magazine of Friday’s Ha-Aretz Newspaper (June 25, 2010), leaves the erroneous impression that I oppose the Jewish Agency’s new Strategic Plan. For those who saw the article, as well as those who didn’t, this letter to you is a welcome opportunity to clarify to you my position – and that of the World Zionist Organization, which I chair – regarding the new Strategic Plan.

First, I wish to stress that I am a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and that, at every stage in the strategic planning process, I have supported and voted for the plan. This reflects my personal conviction as well as the solid backing of the World Zionist Organization. In fact, just last week, during the Board of Governors meetings, WZO members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, endorsed and voted for the preliminary outline of the plan.

Second, having said that, it is true that my colleagues and myself are concerned about the positioning and status of Aliyah of Choice within the plan, as we feel it should have a higher priority as part of the historic and ongoing vision of the Jewish Agency. We have openly expressed this concern in recent meetings and we are hopeful that as the plan matures and becomes more detailed, our concern will be addressed and rectified.

Third, the quote I made, regarding the inability of the Agency’s $300 million budget to accomplish a revolution in Jewish education, was made solely within the context of the almost impossible challenge of reversing the current worldwide trend towards assimilation and did not refer to Jewish identity or to the new Strategic Plan.

In summary, the need to direct the Jewish Agency Strategic Plan toward Jewish identity is a viable and timely goal. I personally endorse the New Strategic Plan and it is supported by the WZO.

I remain, as always,

Yours in faithful partnership,

Avraham Duvdevani (Duvdev)
Chairman, World Zionist Organization